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Indians run winning streak to six

The Spokane Indians have caught fire at the right time, fashioning a six-game winning streak that puts them in strong position to qualify for the Northwest League's postseason. The most direct route for Spokane would be to win the North Division's second-half title. After Friday night's 5-1 win over the Hillsboro Hops at Avista Stadium, the Indians (12-10 second half) lead first-half champion Everett by two games and Vancouver by three with 16 games remaining. Spokane could also qualify for the playoffs if Everett also wins the second-half title. The North team with the second-best overall record would advance to postseason against Everett. In that category, Spokane (32-28) leads Vancouver (31-29) by one game. Read story

The Indians' recent schedule has been favorable: five games against Eugene, which finished the season 3-7 against Spokane, and three games against Tri-City, which is 1-8 against the Indians and arrives in town Wednesday for three more.

Hillsboro is 3-3 against Spokane this season, but the Hops have struggled to an 8-20 road record.

The Indians aren't frightening anyone with their bats, as their .223 team batting average still brings up the rear in the NWL. But their pitching (3.23 team ERA, league-best 538 strikeouts) continues to save the day.

“We really didn’t play that much different on the last road trip,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “We’re in a lot of ball games, we were able to get a couple of leads, and the pitching staff’s been phenomenal.”

“We’ve said all along that our bats will come,” said Friday's starter and winner, Collin Wiles. “As a pitching staff, we knew the bats would heat up and our job is to keep it as close as we can.”

The Indians are 20-16 against South Division teams with four left — all against the Hops.

Spokane improved its home record to 15-13 with 10 home games remaining.

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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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